Ruthlessness, romantic idealism and other similar characteristics are attributed to the Deutschritter Or den, the Teutonic Knights. Yet the story of this order is less colourful than that of similar orders such as the Templars. Most of them claimed – not always quite correctly – that their origins dated back to St Bernard of Clairvaux, who had issued the Rule of the Templars to two knights, Hugo of Payens and Godfrey of St Omer; rules closely modelled on St Bernard’s own order, in a spirit of profound Christian devotion and strict asceticism. At the time of the second crusade, St Bernard himself called for recruits for the Templars, and in a tract issued for this purpose he wrote:

The warriors are gentler than lambs andfiercer than lions, wedding the mildness of the monk to the valour of the knight, so that it is difficult to decide which to call them: men who adorn the Temple of Solomon with weapons instead of gems, with shields instead of crowns of gold, with saddles and bridles instead of candelabra; eager for victory not for fame; for battle not for pomp; who abhor useless speech, unnecessary action, unmeasured laughter, gossip and chatter, as they despise all vain things; who, in spite of their being many, live in one house according to one rule, with one soul and one heart. (Ernst Kantorowicz)